REGINA -- The Provincial Auditor released the first volume of her 2020 report, which includes recommendations for securing devices at eHealth, maintaining facilities within the Horizon School Division and how Social Services can better monitor foster families.


Saskatchewan’s auditor Judy Ferguson examined the processes eHealth has to secure private information on portable computing devices such as smartphones and laptops.

Ferguson begins by stating that portable devices create “security risks” for an organization as they attract hackers, are easy to lose or become infected with malware or virus.

In Saskatchewan health services, 30 per cent of providers use laptops and smartphones which can store private health information.

Ferguson issued the following recommendations to eHealth:

  • Configure portable devices adequately
  • Train staff on security threats associated with portable devices
  • Take necessary action when items are lost, stolen
  • Monitor and control eHealth IT network access


In her report, Ferguson provided recommendations for Social Services to monitor Saskatchewan’s 486 foster homes.

She found the Ministry of Social Services has effective process in place, other than the recommendations listed below:

  • Complete consistent background checks on potential new families

“For one file we tested, the Ministry did not perform a background check in its case management system for two adult children living in the foster home until 14 months after approving the foster family,” Ferguson said in her report.

  • Complete consistent home safety checks
  • Complete necessary annual review reports

“In addition, the Ministry needs to require periodic criminal record checks on all adults residing in approved foster homes. For the 30 foster family files we tested, the foster homes were approved between three and 29 years ago, which was the last time criminal record checks were completed,” the report said.


The Horizon School Division is responsible for the maintenance of 38 schools and four other centres in east-central Saskatchewan. Ninety per cent of these schools are more than 50 years old and in poor condition.

Ferguson said on Tuesday her team examined the divisions process to maintain its schools.

She said looking at how the government maintains its facilities revealed “significant areas of concern.”

The auditor provided the following recommendations:

  • Make deficiencies associated with fire protection a priority, 19 fire alarm systems found to be defective more than a year after the school division identified these issues
  • Keep maintenance IT system up to date and use it to its full capacity.
  • Provide comprehensive maintenance reports to the Board, Ferguson added that the school division did not use its full maintenance budget over the last three years despite over $70 million in deferred maintenance.